Volume 80, Number 16 | September 16 - 22, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Photos by J.B. Nicholas

The video loop projected on the mosque site Thursday evening showed a globe that became a circle, with the words “equality” and “unity” rotating in different languages.

Shining a light amid the angry debate over mosque

By Lincoln Anderson

There’s been an overabundance of loud, often ugly rhetoric about the Islamic center planned near Ground Zero. But last Thursday night, a video-and-art collective did something entirely different — words were involved, but they were presented silently.

For half an hour, a handful of members from the Glass Bead Collective projected a loop of a 7-second video onto the facade of the “Ground Zero Mosque,” on Park Place.

The image, 30 feet by 30 feet, was of a globe that morphed into a circle. Superimposed were the words “unity” and “equality,” alternating between a dozen different languages, including English, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian.

The group had hoped to pull off the action the night before, but plans fell through when they couldn’t obtain a portable electric generator in time.

Police at the scene Thursday night didn’t impede the collective from beaming their video onto the building, the former Burlington Coat Factory.

Vlad Teichberg was one of four individuals who created the image. He said they wanted to do the action again Friday, but police came to the collective’s Bushwick headquarters, looking for outstanding warrants, and arrested a woman who had one for an open-container violation. The delay quashed their plan for that night.

Saturday night, the street was “locked down” after the 9/11 memorial and dueling rallies, he noted, so it was another no-go.

“We put the image out there,” he said. “It’s meant to influence the debate. We’re going to continue the culture jam. Whether it involves the mosque remains to be seen.”

To watch a video of Thursday night’s successful action, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXkKOMnVGSk .

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